The Thrilling Adventure & Supernatural Suspense Hour at the M Bar
Photo by Aaron Vanek
Cocktails are not enough. To lure customers into high end lounge bar restaurants, owners have to up the ante. Once, speakeasy revivals could draw a crowd with novelty, e.g, “Egg white in a cocktail!??! NO…WAY…DUDE!” (Yes, they’re fine.) But now, thanks to Internet recipes, cocktail supplies like the Bar Keeper and Surfas, and retailers like the Wine House, Beverage Warehouse or K&L, people are starting make these drinks at home, and doing a relatively bang-up job of it (good work, you!).
So what’s the next logical stage of the adult evening out? Supper clubs. These were popular in the late 30’s and 40’s, where couples would enjoy a fine meal and drinks with stimulating entertainment. Enter the torch singers, chantresses, upright bass players, pianists, saxophonists, comedians, vaudevillians, Frank Sinatra standards, and steaks. More of these will be appearing in L.A. soon. The spotlight’s hovering at First & Hope, waiting for the March 15 arrival of the venue started by Steve Springer, Aidan Demarest (The Edison) and Marcos Tello (The Sporting Life). More on First & Hope in a future article.
Right now, Los Angeles’s crown jewels in drinking and dining entertainment are the Cicada Club (Sundays only), the Magic Castle (members only), and, maybe, the M Bar (any well-dressed shlub welcome). That will change in the next few months.
The M Bar is an exercise room for B and C-list actors before they break big or accept perpetual typecasting. This means two things: one, you’re likely to see someone who seems vaguely familiar to you yet you can’t quite identify (wasn’t he the little Jew in Inglourious Basterds?), and two, the performers on stage are trained, talented, and unlikely to disappoint.
The cocktails are a hair above standard dive bar fare, so get good whisky (they have a few) or tequila over rocks with some lime. I had a lemon drop and another specialty drink, but can’t find my notes and really, it was unremarkable. Stay simple.
The show, though, is the real purpose. In an intimate setting with a lot of velvet drapery, the audience was treated to touching ballads, hilarious antics, tight musical sets, and a grand sense of stage presence that’s refreshing to see in this sordid age of American Idol amateurs. Why watch failures fail when you can see pros shine, up close and personal?
This night’s show was the Thrilling Adventure & Supernatural Suspense Hour, featuring none other than the incomparable Dave (Gruber) Allen, John DiMaggio, John Ennis, Mark Gagliardi, Marc Evan Jackson, Samm Levine, Hal Lubin, Annie Savage, James Urbaniak, Paul F. Tompkins, Parvesh Cheena, Louise Griffiths, Jesse Spencer, and Martin Starr.
Update: This show will move to Largo, possibly the ultimate supper club in the city, premiering March 5. But you can still expect great entertainment at the M Bar.
The M Bar is located in a strip mall on the south side of Hollywood, at the corner of Vine and Fountain. Reservations are STRONGLY recommended; it’s a small place, and they do fill up.
The M Bar
1253 Vine St. (Map)
For reservations call: 323-856-0036
Get in here now before the year of Supper Clubs breaks and table service takes over.
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